Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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RV Tire Safety: “Tire failed for no apparent reason.” False.

As most of you know, I follow a number of RV forums. Here is a post that caught my eye. Maybe some can learn a lesson from this tire failure post before they end up in big trouble.

Here is the post:

Well, I can assure that a tire can blow up for no apparent reason. LT275/70R18 Americus Commercial date code 3518. Truck was shaking a bit. Thought drive shaft. If any of you ever drove a bit heavy truck (I used to drive fire trucks) that sat for a long time and got a flat spot, well drive shaft or flat spot feeling.

Couldn’t see anything wrong but decided to take my clunker over to (a local NAPA store) and let them have a look. It’s about 15 miles. Missus following. Truck was shaking even worse. Missus said she saw the left front “flapping” (her words) and I queried why she didn’t call me so I could pull over and check. Anyway, I went to the tire and checked by feeling the inside and there was a definite bulge. So I decided to let that go and went in to the office and BANG! Rubber off the inside of the driver side front blew off; about a foot long x 8 inch hunk. Tire still holds air. Always kept those tires aired properly.

Bought four Cooper Discoverer A/T All-Season LT275/70R18 125S Tires. The old Americus tires no longer had my confidence. I praised the Lord I was able to make it over to the NAPA without a blowout on the road.

Michelin’s would have been my choice but they are outside what I wanted to spend. I checked Sam’s Club and the same tires were about $100 more apiece than the Coopers.

I wrote the following regarding tire failures:

Hopefully, this truck owner and some that are reading this post can gain some knowledge.

Well, there clearly was a reason for the failure, as tires are not “magic.” I do not understand what was meant by “blow up for no apparent reason.” If the owner is saying that he did not understand the different technical reasons for a tire to fail, I can understand that. But, at a minimum, people should read and try to understand the information in THIS post, as it covers the two main reasons for a tire to fail. I have posted this “Why tires fail” on at least a dozen different RV forums, but, as they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Or, “You can lead a human to knowledge but you can’t make them think.

When a tire fails, I strongly suggest that you should make at least a minimal effort to understand the “why.” Otherwise, the actions you take may not prevent another failure.

Think about getting in a car or truck and turning the key and the vehicle doesn’t start. Would you simply replace the battery without confirming the reason it didn’t start was because the battery didn’t have enough charge? What if you were out of gas? Would replacing the starter motor “fix” that problem? Of course not. You may not have thought about it, but you already approach “problem solving” in a logical manner.

Tire failures should be approached in the same way if you want to avoid making the same mistake over and over.

The vibration you felt was a significant hint that the tire was in the process of coming apart. Tires simply do not go from having a 100% solid construction to having the components such as the steel belts separate the next instant.

Here is a more detailed post on why tires might fail.

Here is a story of an inspection I did on a tire that was in the process of coming apart.
As you can see, there were a number of warning symptoms. Some were similar to the symptoms you experienced but failed to understand or act upon.

Luckily, you were not driving your truck with a significant load at speed when the front tire finally came apart. That could have been serious. I believe that a little self-education can be a significant help in reducing potentially serious problems if you have a tire failure.

Have a tire question? Ask Roger on his new RV Tires Forum here. It’s hosted by RVtravel.com and moderated by Roger. He’ll be happy to help you.

Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net or on RVtravel.com.

 ##RVT1051

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Chuck Jones
9 days ago

Sorry but I disagree. In December 2010 my wife and I were on a trip in our Pleasure Way Excel. The coach was winterized so holding tanks were empty and the coach was lightly loaded. Before leaving that morning tire pressures were checked and there were no visible defects. We bought the coach new, it had the OEM Hankook tires installed with <10K miles which had been properly cared for. About 3 hours into the trip we stopped at a rest stop and I did my normal walk-around and again, no issue with the tires was observable and there had been no indications of trouble. Less than 30 minutes later, at 62mph, the left rear tire exploded. The coach instantly became uncontrollable and ended up rolling onto its right side, blocking a 2 lane road with a semi bearing down on us. Fortunately the semi was able to stop but my wife was injured. Clearly the tire was defective, but it wasn't observable. So yes, it did fail for no APPARENT reason

Roger Marble
8 days ago
Reply to  Chuck Jones

Do you have pictures you can share? What was the reading on your TPMS just before the failure? It might be possible to identify if the failure was due to a slow leak or if due to a belt separation which is a completely different cause. I have covered both of these, along with pictures on my blog http://www.RVTireSafety.net. Yes, you may not have noticed any telltale signs before or after the failure but I have found that in over 95% of the cases a “Root Cause” can be identified based on physical evidence.

Dennis G.
9 days ago

Third failure was our RV tire that began rhythmically thumping at 60+ mph. The sound was almost inaudible at first, but became more pronounced after 500 additional miles. Cause of failure, was hitting a semi truck tire gator on I-15 on a 100+ degree day, three months prior.

When the initial impact occurred, we pulled over and checked for any visible damage. Finding none we continued on slowly, felling for pulling, vibrations,… and found nothing. We continued our 3000 mile southwest RV trip.

Luckily I remembered the incident, and put “2 & 2” together. If I had not put on my thinking cap,… I guarantee that the tire would have failed in short order.

Roger Marble
8 days ago
Reply to  Dennis G.

Yes impacts have been confirmed to result in a 100% failure rate based on a study done. I posted the results showing the failure can occur between 5 miles and over 40,000 miles later. The data can be found in the post “I Never Hit a Pothole

Dennis G.
9 days ago

Thank you again Roger. People are not getting the fact tires do not just fail for no reason. Tires often give you warnings (in my opinion), just we can not understand what they are telling us.
Have had three tire failures in 38 years. First was a rapid sidewall air loss. Cause: Super old tire that had a zipper failure. It was making a noise at 35 mph, two minutes before failure.
Second was a tread separation. Happened at 65 mph, on a cool day. Again the tire was old had had sat for 10 years on a concrete garage floor. It never went flat, but it never moved in ten years.
Continued…..

Drew
9 days ago

Thanks Roger- I still read stories similar to this one. There are still many “China Bomb” ones out there too.